To fully understand the effect that UltraHLE had on the emulator community, one must make a trip to the Wayback Machine and view various emulation sites' news.
UltraHLE was released on January 26, 1999, and at the time it was released, it was unheard of. A proper comparison would be an GameCube emulator being released - with working games - only two months after the game was even released. UltraHLE followed a policy of "best games first" - the original release could emulate 17 games, all of which were major Nintendo 64 hits. I was one of the fortunate ones to visit UltraHLE's site before it got big. The hit counter initially read 3000; six hours later it read 80000. The authors - Epilson and RealityMan - discontinued it because of legal fears; after all this represented a major threat to Nintendo's intellectual property interests. Four years later, it is still the only real emulator for games.
It had a profound impact on emulation history
- The IDSA went on a rampage.The IDSA is comparable to RIAA for video games - an organisation founded to protect its members' intellectual property interests. Armed with the DMCA in hand, cease-and-desist letters went flying. Doug Lowenstien, president of the IDSA, said that he would like to see emulation destroyed, a statement taken as a declaration of war by many. Major casulaties included Dave's Classics.
- Demand for Glide wrappers exploded. Because UltraHLE made use of 3DFX' propietary Glide technology, demand for Glide wrappers, which allowed non-3DFX cards to play UltraHLE, spiraled. GlideUnderground mushroomed almost overnight, earning them a cease-and-desist letter from 3DFX. Others - like me - went out and brought a Voodoo card just to play UltraHLE.
It was worked on again with very promising progress - RealityMan almost got an OpenGL core - but for unknown reasons, he put up a statement saying that he had deleted the source and all documentation, and that UltraHLE was finished forever. The extensibility of UltraHLE was proven by the various hacks and patches that have been released - for example, SupraHLE, and various .ini files have been added to give games support